Saturday, December 03, 2011

Western Heroes Coming Thru

Saturday Leftover Day

In the fifties all Timely-Atlas books had several short stories. Usually all but one featured the main character of the book and the last on ewas a filler. From the mid fifties onward most of the fillers in the western books were written by Stan Lee. As we are used to by now, he signed most of them. But not all. Among the ones I am showing here, there is at least one I suspect is by Lee, even though it is not signed. The Not Wanted story illustrated by John Severin reads as a Lee story to me, with the sparse dialogue and the slightly predictable twist ending. There are no other clues except for the fact that the next story up in the job number sequence (the bookkeeping system of the company) is written by Lee and he usually wrote several in a row, leading to series of job numbers under his name.

Apart from the fact that it is fun to see such a great array of artists, I think it pays for the art identifier to see of read as many stories in a row as he or she can. This has lead me to believe that I have found a textual Stan Lee qualifier, namely the fact that he always used 'thru' instead of 'through'. He is not the only one using it (I have found it in Hank Chapman stories as well, which makes it impossible to see if those occurrances were written by Chapman or rewritten by th editor Stan Lee), but it makes for a nice disqualifier. Most people in the identifying circles find this too stark a statement, but the fact remaind that I have never found any signed Stan Lee story with the spelling 'through' and I efy anyone to present me with one. I myself recognize this habit as a writer to stick with your own spelling preferences. In Stan Lee's case it goes so far that I have even seen him use 'thru' in some of the personal letters to celebrities shown in the new Stan Lee Universe book from Tomorrows.

So here we have a run of Stan Lee written stories from Two-Gun Kid. With art by all the Timely Atlas greats, including unsigned appearances by Bob Forhione and Reed Crandell. The one before last story is by George Tuska and marks the onset of the terrible coloring of the late fifties. The last story is by Bob Powell and is so copy heavy that it may not have been written by Lee.

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